A majority of the people (all 5 of you!) who read my blog are adoptive parents – many who have adopted from Eastern Europe. The current adoption situation/story that has been plastered in the headlines lately is no longer new news. It has been firmly in my mind and heart for the last 36 ours. News articles have reported that in 2009 alone, 1600 children came home to the US from Russia as adoptive children. My daughter is one of those 1600 kids.
I don’t need to belabor the story. It’s bad. It’s ugly. Essentially, a 33 year single mom from TN (Torry-Ann Hansen) had her mother send her 8 year old adopted son back to Russia because of behavioral problems.
I don’t know what happened inside the house. The chances of a boy adopted at the age of 7, whose background included an alcoholic, abusive birth-mother and time spent in a Russian orphanage, having some adjustment issues are high. And expected. Any person using a reputable Adoption Agency/Home-Study agency will have completed some education classes on the risks involved in adoption. Many of the articles claim that the mother submitted a required PPR (Post Placement Report – required for newly adoptive children from Russia @ 6 months, 1 year, 2 years and 3 years) in January claiming that all was fine. The Grandmother is on record in many interviews as stating that only AFTER this PPR did things start to go badly. I have a hard time stomaching this.
The disruption of any adoption is a sad and stressful thing. I am NOT opposed to disruption. In many cases, it is the best possible scenario for all involved. The disruption of this adoption is not what upsets me so much. It’s the method in which the mother chose to go about doing it. To put a child of 8 years old on a plane ride from Washington DC to Moscow – ALONE, with a stranger arranged to meet him and simply drop him off at a government office is completely and 100% inexcusable. Compare this to a birth mother in Alaska putting her 8 year old child on a plane headed to DC with a note to the Secretary of Social Services – basically stating “I don’t want this child any longer. I can’t handle him”. Added to the fact that this child was from Vladivostok, Russia – NOT Moscow, the mother was sending him to what equates to a place he’s never seen before in his life. Imagine the fear that child must have had.
My Russian adoptive daughter is ALSO from Vladivostok, Russia. So this case hits me on so many levels. I have spent much too much time over the last 36 hours reading various news reports about this situation. One of my “favorite” articles is this one: "Murky Laws".
One glaringly WRONG statement is the following: “Bob Tuke, a Nashville attorney and member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, said abandonment charges against the family could depend on whether the boy was a U.S. citizen”. Now surely, an Attorney specializing in adoption would have done SOME research on current USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) laws/policies. It took me 3 minutes to find this clip from the USCIS website.
“Children with IR-3 and IH-3 visas automatically acquire citizenship if:
- they enter the United States prior to their 18th birthday.
- they are under 18 years old, they are automatically U.S. citizens upon admission to the United States.
- they reside in the United States with their parents (U.S. government or military personnel assigned overseas may qualify as residing in the United States)”
Therefore, it seems obvious to me that this mother should immediately face abandonment charges.
I find articles like this exceedingly frustrating for many of the mis-leading facts that are often spread. However, the most frustrating part of reading many of these articles online are the “comments” from other readers. While I fully believe and support everyone’s constitutional freedom of speech, there ought to be a law against out right ignorance.
The very best comments that I have read so far are:
- People are adopting only for the social security implications. Really? So the average $50K plus that people spend in both domestic and international adoptions is Monopoly $ and most of my adoptive counterparts are secretly draining our welfare system?
- The adoption wasn’t final so this is no big deal. Again, I have to say really? The court proceeding that I went through in Vladivostok, Russia sure looked and felt real. I guess I should have asked the judge if Ashton Kutcher was there and if I was being punked. And I also guess then the adoption certificate I have and the Russian birth certificate listing me as the mother of my child are both fakes. I should have known. Silly me!
- Adoptive children are this decades most fashionable accessory. While I would like to say that all parents enter adoption with the purest of heart, I can’t speak for all people. However, a majority of the people I have met through this process truly want to help a child and expand the love in their family.
- There should be stricter criteria for adoptions/this wouldn’t happen if there were stronger rules. HA! I invite anyone who thinks that adoption is a simple, painless process with no requirements to come along for the ride sometime. I have been fingerprinted more than the average criminal for my adoption! I have seen my doctor more for tests and medical clearances more times than I care to remember! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I know for the usual crowd that typically reads my blog, I am fully preaching to the choir. I have shared in your shock, amazement and fury on blogs and face book while the facts of this story continue to pour out. I hope that maybe other’s will read this and gain a greater understanding of the situation and process.
To my fellow adoptive families - I embrace you and love talking with you all – it’s almost like our own special sorority. Perfect example was another Vladivostok graduate mom who left a note on my blog yesterday. She recognized my daughter’s picture from some pictures that were taken in her son’s room at the baby home on the day he left with her. Yup! They were in the same room. Here’s the picture that she shared with me.
If she would have not cared enough, I would never have had this picture of my daughter that was taken a full 4-5 months BEFORE I even met her. I have precious few “baby” pictures of my baby. Thanks, Jody! You rock!
Finally, I ask you to look at these faces. Could you look them in the eye and say, sorry, I won’t help you because you aren’t from the US? I don’t know many who could.